BACKGROUND & WHY
I really have to admire my mom & dad because when growing up we always sat down together for dinner. It's these memories I remember the most when I think back... The walnut wood table and the formal matching buffet. The European style salt & pepper holder with the little spoon that frustrated my dad to no end because he would end up over-salting his food but my mom really liked it. Most of all I remember being with my family, dad at one end of the table & mom at the other with us girls between them. It was like being surrounded by love.
Although this is something I said I would do with my children it seems like "life" has always gotten in the way for one reason or another. It's been something that has been getting shoved to the back burner as a "When _____ calms down" or "When _____ happens then we'll start sitting together" except ____ never seems to calm down or happen. Nowadays it seems like we only eat together for special occasions or when eating out and we are all at one table.
It has me wondering what memories will my children have of our life together when they grow up? I bet if I were to poll the kids today it would probably have something to do with my laptop or my Internet enabled cell phone, one or the other is always attached to my person at all times like a breathing apparatus or something.
Will my kids have a memory of some dish I make for them that ties into some happy memory of being together? Right now I hear about Grandpa (Papa) John's steak or stew, Auntie Kelly's various awesome dishes like her London Broil or Grandma Jeannie's Porcupine Meatballs, but I really don't get a request from them to make anything special except for Stuffed Grapevine leaves on Holiday's. The kid's pull to these dishes goes as far as one of them mentioning that Papa John can Fed Ex his stew to us and I should ask him to. (Sorry Roxanne, the only thing the kids remember about your cooking is me sending them downstairs when you made toast to ensure you weren't setting the kitchen on fire.)
GOAL - To sit down at the table with the kids for one meal each day. Also, to minimize eating out and to use our packed pantry more.
I guess I got the inspiration for this goal by seeing a friend of mine who gets off of work, drives over an hour home, then cooks dinner & sits down with the kids for dinner. I am not so unrealistic to think that I am going to single handily cook each meal nor do I want to because I think it's good for the kids to learn how to cook for self-reliance later in life, but I do think I can manage to sit down with them for 30 minutes each day without any outside distractions from the phone or email etc.
In addition, I want to use up a lot of the food I already have stocked up that is over-taking the limited storage I have at the new house. I'd like to be able to use the cabinets in the downstairs kitchen for storing seldom used small kitchen appliances... like the mixer etc.
RULES OF THE GAME
1. It can be any meal of the day... Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner but preferably Dinner.
2. If on a weekend we manage to get in two meals in the same day then we are allowed a credit for one day's grace in the future.
3. Eating out will be minimized as much as possible. Also, shopping for new food will be minimized to use up more of what we already have on hand.
4. The table must be set for each meal.
5. If one or more kids are not home due to a sports/school event or spending the night at a friend's house then the meal will be with whomever is home on that day/time. If all three are gone then the day is "graced" by default.
6. If mom is out of town for work the day is "graced" and does not need to be made up.
7. If mom is running errands or at another friend's house for any reason then the days meal will be made up on a future date by adding breakfast or lunch.
6. In the event that mom gets asked out on a date that day's sit down meal is automatically "graced" as sort of a celebration of a miracle in itself. (Clarification: it has to be a date not just at a friend's house for dinner etc)
We'll be sharing photos, recipes, and experiences etc throughout the year. At the end of the year it will be interesting to see if it really makes a difference in our life together as a family or if it's just some hyped up memory from my childhood or my "Jamie's world should look like this" list that is always around in my head.
I hope you stay tuned for more... however it turns out, it will be an exciting adventure into uncharted territory :-)